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Entrepreneurs call Fort St. John Home for the affordability, the economy and, most importantly, the community

These three small business owners founded thriving, growing businesses and are living their best lives among a strong community in Fort St. John, BC

Homesteader Health Foods

Trish and Steve Brousson were always interested in healthy living, but they had no idea how this passion would change their lives, until a small health food business came up for sale in Fort St. John in 1989.

They couldn’t resist.

Fort St. John offered everything they wanted—affordable rents, reasonable taxes and a strong community. “A big advantage of doing business in a tight-knit community is, you get to know your customers,” Trish says. “That relationship makes it fun to go to work, and means your customers are also your friends.”

The couple truly learned about community in 1998, after they lost the store in a fire. Within five days, the community had come together to help set up a new location, where the store operated for the next 15 years.

Today, the store brings wholesome food and supplements to its four locations in BC and Alberta. “Living in a smaller community, there’s always so much more,” Trish says.

COBS Bread Bakery

Hardik Patel moved to Fort St. John from India in 2013 to continue his education and settle down in Canada. He finished a diploma in Business Management from Northern Lights College and set his sights on a business opportunity—COBS Bread Bakery. Already a fan, he loved that the fresh bread franchise donates its leftovers to charities and food banks. “I was a customer before and always loved COBS products,” Patel says. “We decided to invest our time, money and life in Fort St. John.”

He and his wife opened the bakery in 2020 after researching the economic advantages of Fort St. John—affordability, abundant real estate options and friendly, helpful landlords.

Community support was instrumental to the bakery’s success while navigating the challenges of opening during the pandemic. “We couldn’t step back, so we had to move forward,” Patel says. “We received a great response, with customers visiting every day for our fresh products.”

Customers patiently followed the pandemic’s safety guidelines—sometimes waiting in -40 degree celsius cold!

“We felt the connection to Fort St. John,” Patel says.

Pimm’s Production Equipment, Instrumentation, Electrical

Ted Primm, general manager of Pimm’s Production Equipment, Instrumentation, Electrical, has felt that connection his entire life. The family business was founded in Fort St. John in 1980, and three generations later, it is still providing for the oil and gas industry from northern BC to western Alberta. Thanks to endless possibilities in the Peace River region, the business has expanded its services to include telecommunications, IT, computer communication equipment, air compressors, millwrighting and more.

“I love it here,” Primm says. “Economically, the city has been a boon for the company, and geographically, it has been well-positioned to thrive in multiple industries.”

The oil and gas industry hit a slump in 2008, but the company’s multigenerational success allowed it to stay agile and branch out to other industries. “The business continues to thrive,” Pimm says. “We are headquartered in Fort. St. John with a second office in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

“We didn’t choose Fort St, John. It chose us.”

Powering Possibility

Fort St. John is well-known as a Peace River Region hub and an area of progress, growth and opportunity. It enjoys consistent, growing economic activity, low business tax rates and economic incentives that keep opportunities growing.

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